Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Abucket Ghraib
Remember the blockbuster internet movie showing workers at a KFC supplier torturing chickens to near-Passion-of-the-Christ proportions? That movie, in which the slaughterhouse workers bashed live chickens against a wall, spit tobacco in their eyes, painted their faces, tore their heads off and did everything but read to them aloud from Angie Fenton's "The Buzz" column, prompted Yum's David Novak – the Donald Rumsfeld of the chicken world – to institutes some major anti-torture changes at KFC suppliers. Or did it? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says no. In fact, KFC's own Animal Welfare Advisory Panel says no.

As a people, we've come a long way from the good old days when the last thing a chicken thought before going to that great coop in the sky was, "Oh-oh, here comes granny with the machete." In today's factory-slaughterhouses, workers shackle birds (not just KFC-bound birds) alive, paralyze them in electrically charged water baths, slit their throats while they’re still conscious and remove their feathers in tanks of scalding-hot water. And some of this happen with TVs within earshot, increasing the odds that the chickens could hear those Peace, Love, Gap commercials.

If you're a KFC consumer, PETA wants you to boycott the chain. And if you're a Yum shareholder, PETA wants your help in making sure KFC chickens get fingered humanely. So PETA took the fight inside Yum by buying 180 shares of stock, not only gaining a voice in company policy but also giving some lucky stockbroker a great story to tell at the bar after work. As a shareholder, PETA has now filed a resolution demanding that Yum explain to shareholders how it's going to implement KFC's own animal-welfare recommendations -- which are almost two years old and being ignored, prompting five advisors to quit in frustration. To keep abreast (pa dum pum!) of the whole chicken-chokin' saga, visit the PETA site